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Ethnic diversity and employment growth in English cities

Lee, Neil ORCID: 0000-0002-4138-7163 (2011) Ethnic diversity and employment growth in English cities. Urban Studies, 48 (2). pp. 407-425. ISSN 0042-0980

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0042098010363500


There are many reasons why cities with diverse populations may grow faster. Ethnic diversity might attract human capital, tourists or firms, increase productivity through diverse approaches to problem-solving or ethnic minority entrepreneurship. Yet there are also reasons to believe that diversity could be harmful, by leading to sub-optimal provision of public goods or reducing trust or social capital. Or it may be irrelevant, being merely a proxy for class. A number of studies have shown both positive and negative relationships between diversity and growth, using a range of different measures for ‘diversity’. This paper asks two questions: have more diverse English cities grown faster? And does measurement matter: is it important to have a multinational population or an ethnically diverse one? To answer these questions, in this paper a range of models are estimated for employment growth for 53 English cities between 1981 and 2001. The evidence suggests that cities with a high proportion of their populations born abroad in 1981 grew faster in the subsequent 10 years. Neither diversity by country of birth nor ethnic diversity is significant in the period 1991—2001. However, when variables accounting for both are included together, it appears that cities with a large number of migrants saw higher employment growth in the 1990s, but that ethnically diverse cities were less successful. The results presented here suggest that considerable attention needs to be paid to the variable used to indicate ‘diversity’ in these studies and that the impact of diversity varies according to nature of the groups any indicator for ‘diversity’ is representing.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2011 Urban Studies Journal Limited
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2013 15:54
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 01:21

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